Shutting down the Patreon

After spending the last 5 months working a contract gig, I’m taking stock of the Patreon to fund Fleshcult 2. It hasn’t exactly set the world on fire. As you might recall, I was only going to start payments after reaching a pledge total of $1500. Thanks to 45 stalwart fans, we managed $313, but it looks like it’ll plateau far short of $1500. Thanks again to everybody for getting me this far.

I’m of the opinion that failure to reach a funding threshold isn’t the worst thing that can happen in crowdfunding. In that case, you learn a bunch of things and walk away unscathed. The real worst case is low-balling the threshold, just barely getting funded, and then trying to meet a bunch of obligations without enough money. So no, I’m not going to reduce the threshold and try again.

What Now?

Get a haircut and get a real jooo-ooob*, I guess. Ridiculously, I still don’t have the infestation tome finished, which I’m sure didn’t help matters. I’ll continue to twiddle with that in my spare time. I also still want to do that client-side version of Fleshcult, but neither of these efforts have a timeline.

I doubt I’m completely finished with adult games, but I don’t know if I’d make another attempt without assembling a team first. At the least, a writer or artist as a business partner. Game programmers like myself often overestimate our ability to make an adult game solo, hand waving away the “content” needed. But nobody ever jacked off to a game mechanic, so it’s the art and writing that’s the bulk of the work.


* If you’re looking for a programmer for your adult game and you’ve got a budget to spend, I’d be interested to hear about it at jack@thegamename.com.

I have experience in C#, C++, Python, Java, HTML, CSS and have shipped games using Unity to Steam and to the web, as well as iOS/Android games using a custom engine.

Contract Work

This week a lucrative piece of contract work landed in my lap. Seeing as the Patreon is a ways off funding a full restart of Fleshcult development, I took the gig. The client’s in an awful rush and it has overtime written all over it. Realistically I don’t think I’ll be able to restart progress on the game until mid-November at least, possibly longer depending on how long it’ll take me to decompress from the crunch and tidy up dribs and drabs.

I’m sorry I didn’t manage to get the infestation tome out before I got interrupted. I’ve been accumulating writing for it, but my initial game mechanic ideas for the verbs turned out really unfun, so it’s just not ready.

If you’re a patron, don’t panic! No releases, no charge, as always.

Paper prototyping and the plague

This is the part where I’d like to announce a new release, but instead I’m announcing that I’ve spent the last 3 weeks wrecked by viral tonsillitis. Woo! I hate to perpetuate the 4chan stereotype that adult game authors are ne’er-do-wells and flakes, but I haven’t found a way to project manage away being a one man project that’s one man down.

I did get one thing done during my convalescence. I started on paper prototyping Fleshcult 2’s lair mechanics. My idea is that instead of assigning beasts and concubines into pairs, you’d assign minions into the lair’s various rooms: mana extraction rooms, tease rooms, recreation rooms, transformation labs, and the like. This would be accompanied by text snippets with concise descriptions of any sexy situations there.

Each minion has stats for lust, health, and homesickness/happiness, and each ‘slot’ in the rooms has rules for how these get modified. For example, if you’ve got a concubine and a beast in a mana extraction room, you might drop an apprentice into the room’s Voyeur slot to scrub off their accumulated lust, so their lust doesn’t max out and damage their happiness.

How did it play? Well, there’s definitely strategy to it. Maybe too much – I want to leave enough player attention spare so that I can deliver sexy text and images without the player being overwhelmed by numbers. I think next time I’ll go for two stats per minion because I’m not sure that the two different welfare stats are paying their way. Also, I found I was shuffling everybody every turn, which is way more micro than I’m aiming for. I think I can fix that just by increasing the stat capacities so that everything happens more gradually.

Client side version progress: PyPy.js

In my last post about producing a version of Fleshcult that runs locally in the browser rather than on a server, I was wrestling with the need to translate all the Python code into Javascript.

I think I’ve found a way around it. PyPy.js translates Python into Javascript on the fly, right inside your browser. It’s a just-in-time compiler to asm.js rather than an interpreter, so it’s surprisingly efficient.

Continue reading

Release v1.01

The Fleshcult Patreon is finally up after languishing in Patreon’s mod queue for quite a while. And with it, a game update that lets me grant backer rewards such as cheats and ad-free play.

There’s no new content in v1.01 though. That comes in v1.02, where I’ll be adding the long-awaited Infestation Tome. I promised that in the original OffBeatr campaign, so I’m going ahead with that regardless of how this Patreon does.

So, will I start doing a big promotional push? Not yet. After I’ve got some new content to show people I’ll start sending out newsletter updates, but a little at a time, so as to not overload the server. I really can’t wait to have a client-side version. I’ve been making some significant progress on that front, and I’ll post about it soon.

What’s the best Patreon reward?

It’s exclusive game content or backer builds, obviously! But apart from that:

Which patreon rewards would you be most interested in?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Easy Mode

A quick way to get a look at new content. All tomes and locations unlocked by default, reduced in-game prices, and if you fail to recruit a minion, you can undo your last turn.

Hard Mode

A retune for roguelike replayability. More intense invasions, and a bad ending scene if you lose. Designed to be shorter and much tougher.

Cheat Menu

Just go hog wild: insta-recruit minions, give your self more mana, complete minion transformations immediately, etc.

Backer Discord

I hear people like these? I’m probably not going to turn voice on for you though, no offense. 🙂

My Biggest Regret With Fleshcult 1

My biggest regret is that Fleshcult is a server based game. You click a button, it sends a request to the server, and all the processing happens there in Python code.

There are several disadvantages:

  • It doesn’t run offline. If the server goes down, nobody can play.
  • There’s no easy way to keep multiple versions of the game live. I was always careful to keep saved games backward compatible because I know players can’t just fire up an older version, so my ability to make drastic changes was limited.
  • Modding is completely impossible.
  • I haven’t been able to do a totally unrestrained promotional push, because I know the server can only take so much before it lags out horribly or starts spitting errors. Server administration isn’t my forte.

This is all my own stupid fault.

Web browsers can’t run Python without some kind of translation layer, so fixing this is daunting. I’ve been looking for Python to Javascript translation tools and I’ve finally found something that looks doable but it still requires 3 months of work. This isn’t exactly good for Patreon momentum.

The Plan

Here’s how I’d do it gradually, instead making everybody eat all their veggies before dessert:

  • Add content to the server version for a couple of months, all the while doing prep and fixing up code that translates poorly.
  • Fork the code into a server version and a Javascript version. I’d split my time between programming the Javascript version and writing text for the server version. Text is easy to merge when I need to bring the Javascript version up to date with all the latest stuff.
  • Announce a final push and spend a month 100% focused on programming the Javascript version.
  • After making it public and doing a bunch of bugfixes, call that initial Javascript version “Fleshcult Classic” and archive it off.
  • Start work on Fleshcult 2 from the same codebase. Then can I start making really big changes.

What do you guys think? Technical details below the fold.

Continue reading

What would you like to see in Fleshcult 2?

If I started work on a sequel to Fleshcult, what would you like to see changed?

I have lots of ideas myself, and I’m mulling over a Patreon campaign with a detailed roadmap, but first I’d like to see what everybody else is thinking without tipping the discussion in a particular direction.

(If you’re wondering, yes, this does mean my G-rated games business got indiepocalypsed. Oh well)

RAGS in 2018

Have you made a RAGS Game?

You should check out Regalia. It’s an enhancement to the (unfinished) HTML export in RAGS Designer 2.4. You run the export, run Regalia on the export, and then nobody has to install the godawful RAGS Player to play your game.

It’s open source so there’s a pretty good prospect for it eventually supporting every feature in RAGS.

Wait, what’s RAGS?

RAGS is a graphical adventure game creation system that’s popular in several different adult video game scenes. Unfortunately it’s Windows only, tricky to install correctly, largely unmaintained, and has a couple of mutually incompatible versions.

The biggest source of the trouble is that the .RAG format is a renamed SQL Server Compact Edition database. This is an undocumented binary file format called SDF (no relation to signed distance fields). RAGS player relies on SQL Server Compact being installed in order to open the databases. That’s why you have to run two separate installers to install the player. Microsoft is dropping support for SQLSCE in 2021. The old installers will probably work for a while after that point, but there’s no telling when OS or .Net changes will break them.

.RAG files are a terrible way to distribute games and we should stop doing that.

Continue reading

Release v1.00

Current status:

  1. In testing.
  2. An outage of approximately 1 hour.
  3. Finished.

This release won’t change anything about the game itself. I’m making improvements to player privacy because a lot of disturbing news is coming out of the US just now.

  • In Fleshcult, people choose which gender they want to play and which gender they want to fuck.
  • Fleshcult used an email address during sign up. Lots of people used a burner address (sensible!), but not everybody did.
  • I’m not in the USA, but my server is.
  • If Trump gets himself shot, impeached or ousted, Pence controls the US surveillance apparatus.
  • Pence really doesn’t like LGBT people.
  • It’s a really bad idea for me to have a  database that connects people’s email addresses with sexuality info lying around.

Here’s the plan:

  • Turn all the email addresses into hashes, much like I do with passwords. Reversing a hash is pretty difficult, so hopefully that should render the database useless to anybody who gets their hands on it.
  • You can still log into your old accounts. When you enter an email address I hash it and compare that hash against the database one.
  • You can use anything as an account username now, not just an email address. If you’re still worried, feel free to log in and change your username to something that’s not an email address.
  • Before hashing, I made a list of the emails of everyone who has opted to be on the newsletter, burned that list to a DVD, and stuffed it in my closet. It’s just email addresses, no sexuality info. If I ever restart development, I’ll use that to announce it.
  • I removed the Forgot Your Password system because it relies on being able to send mail.
  • You can’t buy account upgrades any more because that relies on mail.

Sorry about the inconvenience, but it’s important to take precautions before they’re required. I know I never finished that infestation tome, but this is all I could eke out time for. If the update broke something, let me know at: jack (at) (the game name) .com